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up in the judgement against him, and condemn him. And inuch more so, if living in a Christian country, where the true church and worship are established, he shall omit to do that which Daniel never omitted to do among his Heathen enemies.
But perhaps we have too much business upon our hands to spare time for our devotions. Time is very precious with most people, when they are to perform their devotions; and if they have not enough for every body, they generally make free, in the first place, with their Creator. But let these men of business consider the case of Daniel. Have they more business than he had, who was the first of the three presidents appointed to receive and audit all the accounts of a hundred and twenty princes set over the vast empire of Persia, of which, at that time, almost all the kingdoms of the earth were provinces ? It would puzzle one to conceive a man in a situation that would afford him less leisure. Yet all this business did Daniel discharge faithfully and punctually, and found time to pray, and give thanks before his God, thrice every day constantly. The same we may observe of king David; who, though frequently engaged in war, as well as the management of a king. dom, yet made and kept the very same resolution as to his devotions. “At evening, and at morning, and "' at noon day,” says he, “ will I pray, and that in“stantly, and he shall hear my voice." Nay, this did not content him in the matter of thanksgiving ; for, "seven times a day,” says he elsewhere, “ do I * praise thee, because of thy righteous judgements." And it was he who, amidst all the cares of state, com
posed and sung to the harp those divine hymns, which have been the delight of the faithful from that day to this, and shall be so to the end of the world. To these examples from the sacred history we may add that of a prince of our own, the great and good king Alfred, whose wisdom and diligence restored this kingdom from a state of the greatest confusion to one of the most perfect order, and preserved it in the same all the while he sat upon the throne. Yet no less than eight'hours out of the four and twenty, did this monarch, so engaged, allot to reading, meditation, and prayer.
Now all these are' matters of fact, and show us what may be done by persons who will set to work in good earnest, and make a prudent disposition of their time. For in one of these two respects it is most certain that man must be deficient, who pretends that he cannot find time to serve God, since Daniel, when prime minister in the court of Persia, “prayed and gave thanks before his God, " three times a day."
And this he continued to do, even when the law was passed which made it certain death. 6. When Da“niel knew that the writing was signed, he went to “ his house, and, his windows being open in his cham“ber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees “ three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks " before his God, as he did aforetime.” He did his duty exactly according to his usual custom, as if nothing had happened, and no law had been passed, or any thing said at court about it.
He would not go to any other place where his enemies might not have found him, but went to his own house, whither
he might suppose they would follow him. He would not secrete himself in any private or remote corner of the house, but repaired forthwith to his own chamber, the place whereunto he always resorted.
He thought it not enough to pray inwardly with his mind, which he might have done in any posture, without being perceived, but made his body bear its accustomed part in the service; “ He kneeled upon his " knees.” He contented not himself with praying once, or twice only, dropping the third time in the middle of the day, on account of the imminent danger he was in, but made up his full and usual complement: “He kneeled upon his knees three times a
day.” Nor did he pray only, and not give thanks, cutting off some part of the service, to make the time of danger shorter, but performed the whole, without curtailing or diminishing aught: "He prayed " and gave thanks before his God, as he did afore“ time.” And, in short, he would not so much as shut his windows, but did all this, “ his windows in “ his chamber being open towards Jerusalem.” In order to show the meaning of this last circumstance, we must have recourse to a noble passage in king Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple, which Daniel had in his eye, and by which he directed his conduct. 1 Kings, viii. 46, &c. “ If thy " people sin against thee, for there is no man that " sinneth not, and thou be angry with them, and de“ liver them to the enemy, so that they carry them
away captives to the land of the enemy, far or near; yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and
“make supplication unto thee in the land of them " that carried them away captives, saying, We have “sinned, and have done perversely, we have com"mitted wickedness; and so return unto thee with “ all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land “ of their enemies which led them away captive, and
pray unto thee toward the land which thou gavest “ unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, " and the house which I have built for thy name; “then hear thou their prayer and supplication in “heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, " and forgive thy people that have sinned against thec, " and all their transgressions wherein they have trans
gressed against thee, and give them compassion be"fore them that carried them captive, that they may “ have compassion on them.” The circumstance, therefore, of "praying towards Jerusalem” being thus enjoined, Daniel would by no means omit it. And now let us consider with ourselves, how clear the conscience, how holy the soul, how steadfast the faith, how lively the hope, how fervent the charity, how invincible the courage of Daniel must have been, who, in such circumstances, could calmly and composedly go on in the regular and exact performance of his stated devotions ! Let us consider of how great consequence the due performance of them is, if, with death in his most horrible form before his eyes, he thought he could not justify a single omission.of them. And whenever we are attempted to neglect our prayers, let us remember that Daniel, though the den of lions was to be the consequence, “ kneeled
upon his knees three times a day, and prayed,
" and gave thanks before his God, as he did afore
We have now taken a view of the situation of Daniel in Babylon. We have considered him as one in captivity in a strange and Heathen land; as one encumbered with the concerns of a vast empire; and as one in danger of his life for what he did ; and hence we have been convinced, it is to be hoped, that nothing ought to make us omit our daily devotions.
From the same great example we may learn how we ought to perform them, with regard to place, posture, time, and matter.
As to place, Daniel, we find, went to his house, “ and shut himself up in his chamber.” And out blessed Lord has enjoined us all to do the same. “ Thou when thou prayest, enter into thy chamber,
and shut the door.” And the reason is plain. He who would pray, must first retire. The spirit of the world and the spirit of prayer are contrary the one to the other; and experience will teach any one that he cannot well pray in a crowd. Business, or pleasure, or even common conversation, if it be about the things of this world, and continue for any long time, will strangely indispose the mind for devotion; and the soul, before she can take her flight to heaven, must plume and balance her wings by holy meditation, She must rally her scattered and dissipated thoughts, and fix them on the business she is going about. She must consider the nature of God, to whom she is to pray; of herself, who is to pray to him; and of those things, for which she is to pray to him. She must